Currently, my family and I are on a journey of sorts. We have an annual tradition of going to Branson between Christmas and New Years. It has been something that we have done for several years and it seems that we look forward to it more each year. The lights, shows, music, atmosphere, and of course the turkey legs at Silver Dollar City are just a few of the things we love to be a part of.
However, the chance to get away with “just us” is what we look forward to the most. We don’t have many opportunities to be able to travel as a family since we are often separated by schedules, jobs, and school. Having this time together is something that we cherish and we look forward to just being a family and enjoying each others company.
This year as we travelled to Branson, we came in the midst of a strong winter storm that brought heavy rain, sleet, snow, and high winds to the state of Oklahoma. Driving east, we hurriedly tried to out run the frozen precipitation, but encountered the challenge of driving through the high winds and heavy rain.
By the time we reached our destination, my body was worn out from the tension of keeping the vehicle on the road and out of danger from other drivers. To say the least, getting to our destination was not a relaxing venture.
The journey of life can have many challenges along the way which test our resolve to face the difficulties that are thrown at us. These challenges can come from outside, when we deal with the encounters we have with other people. But I find that the biggest challenge that most of us face is inside our minds and hearts. Winning the battle in the six inches between our ears is the toughest challenge.
Have you ever thought, “I just can’t seem to live the Christian life the way I know I should?” “I’m frustrated with how I operate in my daily walk with the Lord!” “I don’t have spiritual victory or a sense of accomplishment in my life!” or “I struggle with the simplest forms of obedience, and I feel like I am constantly defeated!”
The good news is that you are not alone in feeling this way. The bad news is that we often remedy these symptoms of our Christian walk with the wrong medicine. Too often we apply the remedy of a new church, a new pastor, new friends, a new spiritual experience, or a new worship experience. We get prayed for, get prophesied over, and pray for a miracle that will change the weak state of our christian walk, only to be frustrated with the results.
While experiences may help us for a time, we often find ourselves falling into the the same patterns which keep us defeated. Why? Because too often we are singularly focused on what God can give us. If he could give us a new experience, environment, or empowerment, then I could free myself from who I am now.
While God is able to do so much for us…salvation, deliverance, wisdom, direction, peace, strength, provision, etc…the problem lies not in what God can do for us, but what we are willing to give to him. While He provides everything that we need to live the Christian life, we can never fully realize those blessings without fully giving ourselves to Him. It’s not about trying to get from God as much as we can, which makes us happy, it’s about what we give to Him, which bring true joy.
Today, we have a plethora of opportunities to learn and receive from God all of His benefits. We have various churches, seminars, conferences, revivals, and books which provide practical, emotional and spiritual help. The key to receiving true happiness and freedom in life, is to give all that you are and all that you have to God. It is only then that you truly become who He has designed, created, and planned for you to be.
Romans 12:1–2 (ESV) — 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.